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News » Cards trade for Greene Padres swap shortstop for Mark Worrell and another minor-league pitcher.

Cards trade for Greene Padres swap shortstop for Mark Worrell and another minor-league pitcher.

Cards trade for Greene Padres swap shortstop for Mark Worrell and another minor-league pitcher.
Supplanting a defensive specialist with one of the game's most enigmatic talents, the Cardinals will arrive at next week's winter meetings with at least half of their middle infield equation completed.

For a second consecutive year, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak jump-started his roster renovation by swinging a significant deal with the San Diego Padres, this time acquiring shortstop Khalil Greene and cash for two minor-league pitchers. The deal was struck Wednesday and then made official after Greene passed a team physical and Major League Baseball approved the money transfer.

"It's a deal that came together very quickly. Given the fluidity of the market and the player who was available, we felt this was an excellent opportunity to address a significant need," Mozeliak said.

Disenchanted righthanded reliever Mark Worrell is one of the pitchers headed West. The Padres will select the remaining player from a list of several pitchers agreed upon by the teams Wednesday.

Greene, 29, represents something of a gamble to a club determined to improve the offensive production from its middle infield. After mashing 27 home runs along with 97 RBIs in 2007, Greene evaporated last season, scuffling to a .213 average with 10 home runs and 35 RBIs before suffering a self-inflicted season-ending injury.

Greene fractured his left hand by punching a cooler July 30. The Padres tried to withhold Greene's pay for the rest of the season, relented under pressure from the Baseball Players Association and subsequently filed a grievance to recoup more than $1.7 million.

"It's our strong belief that last year was an aberration," Mozeliak said. "You look at what he had done previously in his career and there's a sense that's the player we're acquiring."

Greene is a career .248 hitter who has prospered away from cavernous Petco Park. Last season's fog included 100 strikeouts in 389 at-bats and a .260 on-base percentage, well below his .304 career figure.

Greene is projected to replace free agent Cesar Izturis, a switch hitter frequently batting behind the pitcher in manager Tony La Russa's lineup. Izturis batted .263 with a .299 on-base percentage while driving in 24 runs in 414 at-bats.

"I would like to take this opportunity to let everyone know that I am both excited and honored to have a chance to play and contribute for such a storied franchise as the St . Louis Cardinals ," Greene said in a release from the team. "The tradition in St. Louis speaks for itself and I am hopeful to be a strong contributor for the Cardinals. ... I can't wait until April gets here."

Wednesday's trade represented the second completed item on Mozeliak's winter to-do list. The club signed free agent Trever Miller earlier in the day as one of two anticipated lefthanded additions to the bullpen. The club still requires a starting second baseman as it tries to honor veteran Adam Kennedy's request for a trade and remains in search of a closer and another starting pitcher.

Greene becomes the Cardinals' fourth starting shortstop in six seasons after Ozzie Smith, Royce Clayton and Edgar Renteria filled the role from 1982 to 2004.

It also represents the second time Mozeliak has brokered a deal with Padres general manager Kevin Towers, following last December's trade of center fielder Jim Edmonds and $2 million for third base prospect David Freese.

Many within the industry believe Greene became obsessed with hitting for power last season and ultimately buried himself. Greene did not homer in 107 at-bats through April and finally collapsed to a .150 average in July before breaking his hand. He is owed $6.5 million this season, the final installment of a two-year deal that will carry him to free agency after the 2009 season.

Greene has committed only 28 errors in 371 games the last three seasons and is rated an above-average defender. He also doubtless will benefit from leaving Petco, where he hit only .228 compared with a career .288 road average.

The trade coincidentally involved Worrell as he went public with his displeasure over lacking opportunity within the Cardinals organization.

Worrell, 25, failed to receive a September call-up after making four relief appearances for the Cardinals in June. He worked two scoreless appearances before taking a loss against the Cincinnati Reds, then appearing in a 20-2 loss at home to the Philadelphia Phillies.

An unorthodox, submarine delivery won Worrell few advocates within the major-league clubhouse as even some within the team's player development system projected him as a righthanded specialist.

Worrell relayed his frustrations to, blasting the organization's handling of him while admitting his irritation at being overlooked for a September call-up.

"I can't really control what those guys do with me," said Worrell, who struck out 80 while compiling a 2.15 ERA in 58 2/3 innings during his second season at Class AAA Memphis. "I feel like I have done a great job but obviously the Cardinals don't really respect me. So unless they are going to do a 100 percent change and give me a chance, then I am ready to try somewhere else that will appreciate a guy that puts up good numbers and works hard on and off the field."

"It's our strong belief that last year was an aberration. You look at what he had done previously in his career and there's a sense that's the player we're acquiring." John Mozeliak, Cardinals general manager

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: December 5, 2008

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